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Trust prepares for busy New Year's Eve

31 December 2012

As South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation NHS Trust prepares for one of its busiest nights on New Year’s Eve, the Trust is calling on the public to use the service wisely.

The Trust which handles 999 calls from across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, will deal with in excess of 1,000 calls in the early hours of the New Year’s Day.

Last year between 10pm on New Year’s Eve and 4am on New Year’s Day, SECAmb received 1,080 emergency calls – an average of three calls every minute.  This was an increase of more than 100 calls for the same period in 2010.

A large number of the calls are because of people falling over, suffering from breathing difficulties or being injured in fights and assaults.

Senior operations Manager, James Pavey said: “New Year’s Eve is always one of our busiest nights of the year.

“Every year we have robust plans in place to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver a safe, timely and quality service to our patients, despite the fact that we receive a significant increase in calls.

“However the public can do their bit to help us by only calling us if they absolutely need to.  While we want people to go out there and enjoy themselves at this time of the year, drinking too much alcohol alone isn’t a reason to call for an ambulance.”

People can help the Trust at this busy time by following the simple measures below:

  • In cold weather wear a few thin layers when you go out so they can easily be removed as you warm up or enter warm shops or buildings.  A few thin layers will also keep you warmer than one or two thick layers.
  • If it is icy or wet outside take extra care, especially when walking or driving.  Leave yourself longer to get where you need to be and if you are walking, wear shoes that have a grip rather than smooth soles.
  • With many shops and pharmacies closed over Christmas, stock up your medicine cabinet in advance. Items such as cold remedies, pain killers, indigestion tablets, diarrhoea or constipation remedies and plasters are useful to have in the home all year round.
  • If you or anyone you care for takes regular or prescription medications make sure that you have a large enough supply to keep you going over the Christmas period – and remember to keep taking them.
  • Make sure that you know in advance the telephone number for your local out-of-hours doctor and dentist. Your local surgery or regular dentist should be able to provide you with this information.
  • Enjoy yourself and the festivities but please remember to drink sensibly and responsibly. In most cases, excessive alcohol consumption on its own is not a reason to call an ambulance. However, if an intoxicated person appears to have another complaint that gives cause for concern, or they lose consciousness and cannot be roused, please call for an ambulance without delay.


When to call 999:

If you think a patient is suffering from one of the following you must dial 999 for an ambulance:

  • heart attack (e.g. chest pain for more than 15 minutes)
  • sudden unexplained shortness of breath
  • heavy bleeding
  • unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained consciousness)
  • traumatic back/spinal/neck pain

You should also call for an ambulance if: 

  • you think the patient's illness or injury is life-threatening
  • you think the illness or injury may become worse, or even life-threatening on the way to the hospital
  • moving the patient/s without skilled people could cause further injury
  • the patient needs the skills or equipment of the ambulance service and its personnel
  • traffic conditions could cause a delay in getting the person to hospital and time could be critical


Note to editors:

Ì South East Coast Ambulance Service was formed on 1 July 2006, following the merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance trusts and is one of 11 ambulance services operating in England. It covers an area of 3,600 square miles and a resident population of 4.5 million across East and West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Kent and Medway and Surrey. The trust responds to 999 calls from the public, immediate and urgent calls from health professionals, as well as providing non-emergency Patient Transport Services (pre-booked patient journeys to and from healthcare facilities) in some areas.  It employs more than 3,000 staff across 60 sites, more than half of whom are paramedics and ambulance technicians.

Ì SECAmb is a NHS Foundation Trust and as such invites the public to have a say in how we run our services. It’s free to become a member of SECAmb, and members will receive a newsletter with potentially life-saving health tips, invitations to ambulance service events, and information about any changes we’re planning to our services. To become a member fill in our online form: or, to be sent a form to fill in, leave your name and address on our membership phone line: 01273 897840.       


For further details contact:


Ì  Rich Airey, Media Relations Officer, on 01737 363888 or 07500 991807 or email

Ì On-call press officer for urgent media enquiries 01622 740358, option 4


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